Movies

International Haifa Film Festival opens

MUMBAI: Despite budgetary problems, Haifa Film Festival celebrated its 25th year, awarding its excellence award to American actor Elliot Gould. The Haifa Film Festival began with a festive ceremony on Saturday.

" We started as a small event with a communal character and developed into an internationally acclaimed festival. We‘ve traveled a long way since the founding of the international film festival tradition in Haifa and the cinema in Israel," said the festival‘s director Pnina Blayer.

Many representatives of the Israeli film industry came to Haifa to take part in the festivals. Though the country‘s Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat did not attend the event, President Shimon Peres sent a warm note in which he regretted not being able to attend, yet said he sees the festival as an opportunity to "praise the magnificent achievements of Israeli Cinema, which reflects the character of Israeli society and its pluralism.

"The Israeli cinema is successful despite the world‘s cultural boycott," Peres wrote, adding that "films made following the Lebanon War, such as Beaufort, Waltz with Bashir and Lebanon received massive acclaim not for being war movies, but as movies that highlight personal stories and raise difficult human dilemmas .

Continuing its annual tradition, the film festival awarded a special prize for excellence and contribution to global cinema, which was awarded this year to Elliot Gould.

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